What is it?
Based on an extended platform of the Peugeot 208, the 2008 is taller, chunkier and more curvaceous than some of its competition, though not as pretty as its bigger sibling, the 508 RXH, which incidentally has to be one of the prettiest estates around.
The 2008 is Peugeot’s answer to the increasingly popular compact crossover market and combines the compactness and agility of a supermini with the high driving position and rugged style of an SUV.
On the road
Around town the 2008 was spot on, as were motorways and blasting around narrow country lanes, it's a comfortable and easy car to drive, but I wouldn't say it's the sportiest. Keeping the Peugeot steady around corners was quite easy too as body roll is kept well under control.
The combination of the 1.6ltr, BlueHDi 120 diesel and 6-speed manual gearbox means that it's also a very refined and frugal car to drive at speed, add that to the fantastic all-round visibility and you have a car that makes a lot of sense.
Off the road
Although the 2008 is only offered with front-wheel drive, you do get the option of having Peugeot's rather remarkable Grip Control system which is incredibly effective at finding traction where a front wheel drive car shouldn't. There are modes for mud, snow, sand and regular ESP, so drivers can cope with just about anything. A good example is this video of the 2008 driving up and down Tamworth's Snowdome.
I tried to get the 2008 stuck, but it wouldn't have any of it., granted, the weather at the time was gorgeous and there wasn't a hint of mud anywhere, which means I'm going to have borrow another one when the weather turns grim!
For me, this is where the 2008 shone, it's like the Tardis. Yes, the 2008 can seat five people and accommodate a decent amount of luggage, and is comfortable and simple to drive, but sat in the drivers seat is the place to be. The 2008 has a vast open and airy cabin that offers a degree of calmness, and yes I know that sounds all airy-fairy, but just imagine how you feel between to being stuck in a lift or sat alone on a beach - calm...
The 2008 feels very upmarket with soft-touch plastics on the dash and a smart centre console and blue-rimmed dials, but lets not forget I was driving the high-spec Feline model. Have I mentioned that the steering wheel sits quite low so you read the dials over the top of it as opposed to through it? No? Well it is, it can initially feel a bit weird but you soon get used to it.
Getting in and out is quite easy too, even with my 6ft 18.5 stone frame, and once settled the seats are a nice place to park your bum, firm and shapely, that's the seats not your...
Engines ‘n’ transmissions
There are currently only two engine sizes available in the 2008, a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel and both a choice of differing power outputs. As I haven't driven the petrol, all I can say is that, although it's at the top end of the pricing structure, the top-spec HDi 120 delivers a great spread of performance, from 76mpg, max speed of 119mph and a 0-60 in 9.6 seconds.
To give it its full title, the '2008 Crossover 1.6 BlueHDi 120 StopStart EU6 Feline Calima' isn't the prettiest car on the road, but when you get behind the wheel it doesn't really matter as the interior and ride make you forget its looks, but like all cars, it has a couple of annoying foibles. The first was that the cup holders in front of the gear stick are too far forward to be of any use, I couldn’t fit my Contigo travel mug in them and consequently couldn't drink my coffee, which is unforgivable really. Secondly, although the infotainment touchscreen is clear, navigating through the screens isn’t as slick as other systems. But I'm being picky, the 2008 is very much a worthy contender if you want a capable yet small family Crossover without the extra weight of a 4x4 system.